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SB 334: Health Insurance - Access to Accurate Provider Directories

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public-policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

SB 334 prohibits a carrier from issuing or delivering a health benefit plan in the State before a provider directory for the health benefit plan is submitted to and approved by the Maryland Insurance Commissioner. The bill requires a carrier to submit a provider directory on a specified basis for review and re-approval by the Commissioner, and authorizes the Commissioner to take enforcement actions if a carrier violates provisions of the Act.

Health care is a necessity for all people. The Catholic Church consistently supports legislation that ensures access to quality, affordable, life-giving health care for all. The lack of accurate information in provider directories has negative health and financial consequences for many people and is actually a barrier to accessing health care. For instance, a person who has to spend a prolonged amount of time searching for a primary care physician due to a provider directory being outdated will be hindered in his/her ability to seek care when the symptoms of an ailment are easier and less costly to treat. This is a far too common occurrence that must be stopped if health care is to truly be accessible to all.

Pope Francis said, “It is vital that government leaders...to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 205). Requiring health benefit plans to have accurate provider directories is an essential step in ensuring that all Marylanders receive they health care they need in a timely manner.

The Conference appreciates your consideration and urges your favorable support of SB 334.